re: necessity of mental memes

Date: Thu Jan 31 2002 - 09:15:14 GMT

  • Next message: Keith Henson: "re: necessity of mental memes"

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    Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2002 09:03:19 GMT+00:00
    Subject: re: necessity of mental memes
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    Oh come on Aaron! What are you on about? Science doesn't work like that. You really ought to know better, I mean you were a scientist once yourself, so it's not as if you aren't familiar with the system!! How can you possibly say that:

    "In memetic engineering, if a physicist with certain properties doesn't exist, then it too needs to be synthesized in the 'lab.' So if you need a physicist
    to vouch that the essence of nuclear isotope decay is in changing electron
    positions, then just work up a name and convincing set of credentials for
    someone and have that "physicist" say whatever needs to be said. Especially
    if careers, reputations, and large sums of money appear to be riding on the
    argument at hand. If some pre-existing physicist challenges the theories of
    the newly synthesized one, the newly synthesized one can angrily call the
    pre-existing one a fake."

    I have been in this game, or at least in the biology part of it, for 20 years now, and I've never seen anything even remotely similar to what you describe. I know all the top biologists, by reputation if not in person, _and so does every other biologist_ and it would be impossible for, as you maintain, anybody to just "work up a name and convincing set of credentials for
    someone and have that [biologist] say whatever needs to be said". It just wouldn't work. If a Dr X suddenly appears from the University of Y, then instantly the coffee room conversation is 'I know X from my time at Y' or 'I know a guy who was a student with X at Z', or 'I heard Y speak at a conference in Q' etc. There is just no scope for the creation of false identities with fake titles, publications etc. People would see through it in a flash. I am confident that physics is similar enough for the same to apply there.

    Now having said that, I can't help thinking here (now call me paranoid if you will) that all this stuff, like your previous extraordinary parable concerning Margaret Mead (list passim) and the recent bizarre stuff about 'Dr Tony P Baloney' isn't really about real life at all, but some kind of murky attempt to suggest that some individual person (like me????, eh? is that it??) is just a "work up name and convincing set of credentials" or a "Dr Tony P Baloney". Oh, and not to mention all that about somebody on the list having a case of narcissistic personality disorder (now that really is not a nice thing to say).

    If that is what you are implying, then please be decent enough to say so out loud, clearly and ambiguously to all list members. Don't please retreat behind the 'it is not my purpose to make specific allegations' stuff, and then proceed to repeat the vague ones.

    Let's do a deal, okay? You tell me exactly what evidence you want me to provide concerning my qualifications, publications, affiliations, mental health etc. When I got my US visa I had to send all my transcripts of my degrees etc to the INS. They seemed to be satisfied.....


    PS: My publication list (all real stuff, I promise you) is on the web at:

    talk21 your FREE portable and private address on the net at

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